Control Freak Homeschooling Parents?

I recently read a comment on an online article that said something to the effect of “Homeschooling parents are control freaks who want to run their children’s lives.”

It bugged me, yet I realized that there’s some truth to that statement. While no one wants to be called a control freak, and most homeschooling parents’ goal is to raise their children to become independent young adults, the fact is that there are a lot of dangers in this world that we parents want to keep away from our children. Many of them are found in public schools, but there are also everyday dangers that we want to avoid; homeschooling allows us to avoid them.

For example, homeschooled children have more opportunities to get physical exercise than other children. They’re not stuck at a desk for many hours a day. They can run outside and play whenever the weather isn’t bad. They have plenty of free time to use in physical pursuits such as tree-climbing, basketball playing and walking the dog, because they’re not tied to a daily school schedule. So unless their parents make them do online school for eight hours a day, they’re getting more exercise than most children.

This helps them avoid the common danger of childhood obesity, which is worsening. In fact, a recent study found that today’s children actually have less physical strength and carry more fat than the children of the late 1990s. So when homeschooling parents “control their children’s environment,” they’re actually giving their children a healthier lifestyle than they would have if they went to school.

Another danger that many homeschooling parents avoid is allowing their children random and unsupervised Internet access before they’re old enough to handle it. When I was doing research for my new book, I was shocked to learn the extent to which cyberbullying has spread, and how much it has hurt children, to the point that some of them are committing suicide. Then there’s the potential for pedophiles to reach them through online contact—ugh.

Yet today’s schoolchildren often carry Internet access on their bodies in the form of iTouches and Smartphones. At home, they have unfettered access to the Internet. Their parents say they let them conduct their social lives on the Internet because they don’t want them to feel left out. Relatives with young children tell me that party invitations are now distributed online, so if you want your child to be included, you have to let them be on Facebook (which is now actively pursuing children under the age of 13).

This is another danger homeschooling parents can avoid. By not giving our kids unsupervised round-the-clock access to the Internet until they’re old enough to handle it, we can protect them from the dangers that lurk there. Some will call that being a control freak. I call it something else: parenting.

How about you? Do you encourage your children to run and play outside? Do you have full or partial restrictions on their Internet use? Do you mind being called a control freak homeschooling parent? I’d love to get your take on this.

11 thoughts on “Control Freak Homeschooling Parents?

  1. We live on the Oregon coast, where it rains or is too windy to be enjoyable outside for most of the year.. I will actually cancel school on nice days and send the kids out to play for the day, meanwhile their public schooled friends miss out on a lot of warm sunny days because they are stuck in school. My kids have a laptop that they share between the 5 of them old enough to use one, for games etc, but for internet access they have to be in a room with an adult, and it has to be turned TOWARD that adult, it is wired internet access not wireless so we have complete control. And if one misuses it they ALL loose it, so that provides extra incentive to obey! One can handle mom and dad being upset with them, but not all their brothers and sisters too! :O) They are allowed phone when they have a job and can pay for them, and keep up the payments, then they get a pay as you go phone, that they pay for. not us.

    I am a control freak homeschool parent and am proud of it. I know where my kids are, who they are with, what they are doing, and therefore know that they are safe. That is my job and I take it seriously. :O)

  2. I am what I am what I am. Yup. Call me what they may, I know I’m doing GOOD by my kiddos. My children are sweet, social, kind, smart, service-minded, thoughtful, etc. They are wonderful. Now, can a child in public school be all these things. Yes. But mine are not having to be untaught all the crud that comes with public schooling. Call me: GLAD to be a control-freak! 😉

  3. I wouldn’t call responsible parenting being a control freak. Like your first commenter, my daughter was allowed a phone when she turned 16 and had a job to pay for it. Our kids won’t have Internet access on their phones and I don’t think ANY kid needs an iTouch either. There are very nice mp3 players out there that cost half of those and work very well, without access to the net.

    I am also frequently sending them out to play, ride bikes, etc whether or not they want to. It is healthy for kids to run and play. Homeschool parents tend to be more involved simply because it is the nature of homeschooling!

  4. How wonderful to read what you awesome moms are doing for your kids! Homeschool moms are the best 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I also call it parenting! Yes, I encourage my little ones to spend time outside, and I restrict their internet time. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to do that with my oldest 2 children! Keep up the good work, and as my husband says, “We’ll see in 20 years how well these choices will pan out.”

  6. Talk about over generalization! Children who attend public school do not necessarily have “unfettered access to the internet”. That is a ridiculous claim. While this may be true in some cases, it is not something that can be said for all students just because they attend public school. Parents who send their children to public school are just as wonderful at parenting as parents who choose to home school their children.

    I encourage my child to run and play 60 minutes per day. His computer and TV time are limited to 30 minutes per day. I also work part time at a public school (which I’m sure is another evil in the eyes of home school parents). I see the great benefit of the social aspect of public school. Children will learn things (“crud” as it’s called above) from other children even when not at school.

    I understand that home school parents have to rationalize the choice to home school their children. Go ahead, rationalize all you want. Next time, come up with better arguments (if you can find any).

  7. Good for you, Angie. We’ve been at it well over 20 years and it’s “panned out” just fine; it will for your family, too 🙂

    Chill, Tina. Your anger and defensiveness have affected your reading ability. My post says that children with iTouches and Smartphones often have Internet access at school (due to owning those items) and have unfettered access AT HOME. I believe this is because parents don’t want their children to be left out; all the cool kids have these items, and they want their children to be socially accepted so they let them have these items too, thus the unsupervised Internet access.

    That said, as a former public school inmate, er student, I see public education as flawed and bad for children. As for your request that I come up with better arguments, you should meet my kids, who are now adults. They’re great arguments for homeschooling 🙂

  8. Hmmm . . . what’s the alternative? That the government controls our children? Their peers? Strangers? Teachers that we have no say in choosing? I opt for parents all the way.

  9. Thanks for your marvelous posting on home schooling! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will come back sometime soon. I want to encourage one to continue your great posts on the importance of education, have a nice day!

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